Stroke and oral inflammation

Chronic oral inflammation (gingivitis and periodontal disease) is a well-known risk contributor to stroke. But are periodontal surgery and scaling effective in reducing the risks of stroke?

A new, very large retrospective study of middle-age Koreans with oral inflammation indicates these procedures are helpful in reducing stroke.

Data from Korean medical insurance claims show that compared to no treatment, adults with periodontal care had a reduced incidence of stroke.

This study also concluded the level of oral inflammatory load makes a difference. Adults with gingivitis had a better survival rate of stroke than those with periodontitis. See chart.

Given these findings, why do so few older adults with chronic oral inflammation receive this preventive care? The big reason is cost. Those most at risk of stroke, seniors, commonly are most sensitive to dental costs and many do not have a dentist because they perceive these services to be unaffordable.

Lowering the cost of preventive dental care is a key strategy for containing the cost of chronic diseases like stroke.

source: Hsiao-Wei L, et al. 2019. Periodontal treatment and subsequent risk of ischaemic stroke. J Clin Periodontol., 46, #6, 642-649.